Organisational Culture Design Part 2

Organisational Culture Continued

We started this series looking at a number of aspects of organisational culture, such as aligning organisational and individual missions, time allocation for creative projects and personal development, and transparency. In this second part of how to design organisational culture, we will look at some additional components that will help to create a collaborative, creative and dynamic culture.

Components of Organisational Culture

Empower your employees. Linus Torvalds who is the initiator of Linux – used in the top ten fastest computers in the world and the Google Android system – stated what has now become known as Linus´ law “with enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”. The Open Source software movement has revolutionised the world. No traditional company could keep up with Wikipedia; Microsoft Encarta soon had to pull out of that race. Open Source brings us Apache, which runs on 65% of internet servers, and Mozilla Firefox, which is arguably safer than proprietary software not only because it has such an extensive amount of people continually developing it, but also because the sunlight of transparency shines into its code. This can equally be achieved by fundamentally considering employee empowerment and then evaluating the ethos and principles of the organisation, the decision making processes, the underlying motivations and adapting them accordingly.

Develop a learning culture. For an organisation to learn, its employees must be continually learning. The learning capabilities of an individual and the team rest upon three key legs: aspiration; reflection: and systems. Seek individuals who have the aspiration to grow their skills, then feed this desire with learning opportunities and carefully rewarding key events. Setting aside time for the employee to undertake personal development will encourage this. Include learning schemes such as acquiring books and then having employees teach what they learnt to others, or reading, writing reviews and then implementing what was learnt. Regular reflection allows us to recognise where things went wrong and what was done well, enabling us to become more efficient and effective. Finally, teams are complex systems, with ongoing changes, decisions and interactions – this means careful consideration should be put into anything that affects the dynamics of the team.

Crowdsourced Performance Reviews. Most performance reviews are held once a year, they summarise the employee´s performance down into 10 categories which are rated from 1-5 and the manager may note some particular things that were good as well as areas for improvement. The issue with this is that, firstly the manager is not able to monitor every interaction made by the employee, all the things they done well, and all challenges overcome. It´s also not very useful having one person´s opinion of someone´s skills placed on an arbitrary scale of 1-5. Also the fact that these are only conducted once per year, with some who may carry out one or two follow up reviews through the year, lacks any real opportunity for effective monitoring and tracking. The solution is to make the performance review crowdsourced – the employees will have more power to reward performance. The model will move from a once a year activity to one which is updated every day, meaning it´s viewable in real-time, and as everyone will log the performance of each other’s´ activities, it is much more accurate, efficient and effective than one manager´s opinion about how the year went.

Encourage your employees to bring their hobbies and interests into the workplace. Without you knowing it, many of your employees could be prolific bloggers, do web-design, PC repair, enjoy writing, have experience of teaching, have connections to key countries where your business wants to expand, organise events for charity and the community, or do other such activities. All of these could be valuable to your business and your employees may relish the chance to share their passion. When hiring, ask specifically for hobbies and interests. For people who are already working in the organisation, ask them directly, it´s a great way to start talking to people, get to know them even better, and potentially find great opportunities.